Tips to Manage your Money
Surviving on a fairly tight budget can take some getting used to. Finding paid work may take time, and it’s particularly tough if you’re facing a hefty student debt. Whether you’re a student, or a recent grad, it’s important to learn how to take control of your finances and make informed decisions.
Get to grips with the basics of managing your money e.g. how to set up a budget, need-to-knows about repaying your student loan, the lowdown on credit cards, and switching to a graduate bank account for preferential terms.
Good planning now can prevent money worries later; avoid fretting for months about how you’re going to pay for what you’ve just spent. Better to budget than borrow (and pay back later with added interest!)
Budgeting isn’t just about making sacrifices, it’s a tool to help you organise your money, live within your means and avoid building up debt.
The first step is to get a clear picture of your financial affairs, by tracking all your income and outgoings. Use a Budget Planner to work out what you regularly spend on essentials like rent, bills, food, transport etc. And be sure to factor in those big one-off costs: Christmas, car tax, insurance, summer holidays, family birthdays etc. Estimate what you’ll need to spend over the whole year.
Once you know how much cash you have coming in and where it’s going, you can work on ways to manage and improve your finances – prioritise spending, cut costs and boost your income.
‘Analyse your inflows and outflows. Really think about how you’re spending your money.’
– Alessandra Sollberger, CEO & Founder of Evermore Health
Analyse and prioritise your spending. First cover the essential bills and try to reduce any expensive debts that are racking up interest e.g. store cards and credit cards.
Then work out what cash you can splash each month; if it’s looking tight, decide what’s most important and what you can live without e.g. limit the luxuries, borrow the books, say no to nights out (well, maybe a few?!)
‘Work out your net money each month (after paying your rent and bills) and live within your means.’
– Bruce McKendrick, CEO of Forest Holidays
Look for areas where you could pay less and make your money go further!
Here are 5 of our favourite tips:
Better bills – shop around on comparison sites to minimise utilities bills, motoring, insurance and broadband costs etc. Consult more than one site so you get a full picture of what’s on offer.
Money Saving Expert GoCompare Money Supermarket uSwitch
Check statements – monitor your bank balance and reconcile bank/credit statements regularly, so you avoid unnecessary charges and stop payments for things you no longer need e.g. subscriptions and memberships.
Travel cheaper – plan trips in advance to save on travel. Shop around early for deals on trains and planes, to avoid paying a premium for peak season or last-minute bookings.
Save 1/3 off most rail journeys with a 16 – 25 Railcard. (From Spring, you’ll get discounted travel up to age 30!)
Eat in – put a cap on the coffees, take away the takeaways and cook at home instead for a fraction of the price. And it’s better for your health as well as your pocket! Do savvy supermarket shopping late in the day for reduced prices, look for offers and check out apps like mySupermarket to compare prices at the big chains.
Shop sales – thanks to a tough trading year, stores are slashing prices to lure shoppers; take advantage of January and July sales, pre-season sales, closing down sales, Black Friday, Cyber Monday… it’s never-ending!
Check out the current sales on the High Street and online:
Boost your income
Try to earn some quick cash from babysitting, housesitting, dog walking, tutoring etc. Or have a clear out, get rid of your clutter and make some money by selling your stuff on eBay or Gumtree.
If your uni course is vocational, sell your skills – many small businesses and start-ups need help with design, social media, accountancy or even general admin, but they can’t afford to pay high commercial rates. So check out these local companies, and market your services professionally.
Estimate what you’ll need to spend over the whole year, and try to set aside a little each month in a savings account. This will help spread the large costs and make them more manageable, so you won’t take a big hit for holidays or Christmas, and you’ll have some funds in case of emergencies (car repairs, boiler breakdowns, losing your job etc.)
Saving £10 a week can add up to around £500 in a year’s time. Use this savings calculator to work out how much or how long you need to save.
If you can’t afford to start saving, adjust your spending, so you live within your means and without worries.
‘Be selective with what you spend your money on. Put a little aside at the beginning of every month, towards something that you’re saving for.’
– Tamsin Gordon, Founder of Glitzbox
Start small with saving – put spare coins in a large jar, then build up little by little. You might be pleasantly surprised how much you’ve accumulated when you empty it!
You’re more likely to save if you commit to putting away a regular sum at the beginning of the month, rather than waiting to see what’s left at the end. Go for easy access savings if you’ll need to get at your money regularly, but consider a higher interest account if you can lock it away for longer.
For more info:
Click here for our simple guide to budgeting, and read our blog to see how talent agent Grace makes the most of her money in London.
Managing your Money
Bruce, Tamsin & Alessandra share their helpful tips on how to manage your money effectively.